Chapter Eleven

"Spike? Are you awake, baby? Say something." Buffy stared into his closed eyes with hope that they would soon flutter open. She ran her had through his now brown rooted locks and rested her face next to his.

At that moment a nurse came in and took one look at Buffy's tear stained face and sent her a look of pity. She'd been there since the young blond boy was brought in; she'd been back everyday since.

"He moved! He moved his hand!"

"Calm down Miss." The nurse took a hesitant step closer to the young teen as Buffy glanced at her hesitantly. "Coma patients sometimes show sings of movement but that doesn't mean that he is awake. I'm sorry, I'm going to have to ask you to leave, it's time for a sheet change and meds."

Buffy glanced at Spike then looked back at the nurse and nodded glumly. She gathered her things and pressed a small kiss atop Spike's head before exiting.

After having Spike move his hand there was no way that Buffy was going to risk going home and have Spike wake up alone. The nurse had to change the sheets and give him his meds but after she was done Buffy had every intention of returning to the room. She'd love to see someone try to take her from that room. If Spike was moving there was a chance that he would wake up soon, no matter what the doctors said. Buffy wasn't about to leave him in that room to wake up alone and confused. She would not leave him again.

Buffy caught sight of the nurse leaving the room and gathered her thing back up and went back inside. The sheets had been changed but other than that the room looked the same. She slipped off her shoes and put her bag in the chair beside the bed. She glanced down at the boy who she had loved for so long and forced herself to smile. Trying her best not to get tangled in the cords or hurt Spike in any way, Buffy slid into bed with the other teen and rested her head on his chest. Being so close to him brought back so many memories of the good times they had shared and she started to cry. Spike was lying beside her and he might not ever wake up! The shear thought was too much to bear and she broke down into more sobs.

She'd thought the crying part was over; it should have been over and done with. Now was supposed to be the time when Spike got better and woke up like in the movies. He'd wake up as soon as she said that she loved him and he would say he loved her too and that he always had. They would hug and then kiss and then a doctor would come in to cheek on him and see that he was awake. They would call it a miracle and Spike would be just fine, he would be able to go home the next day, and everyone could go one like this never happened. But no matter how many times she whispered those three words to him he wouldn't wake up! He wouldn't come back to her. What would she do without him? She was so lost.

"We are brought here today by a loss that will stay in the minds and hearts of al those who are gathered here today as well as those who aren't."

Buffy held Dawn closer as her sister began to tremble with sobs. Angel came up to the two siblings and wrapped his arms around both girls. The fact that he was there for them only brought so little comfort and Dawn continued to sob.

"Would anyone like to say a few words to before we bestow this soul to heaven?" He looked around at the group gathered before him and gave Buffy a small smile as she nodded to him. She passed Dawn over to Angel and kissed her gently on her fore head. The younger Summers girl looked like she wanted to protest to Buffy leaving but she was silenced as Conner slipped her out of his brother's arms and pulled her into his.

Buffy slowly made her way to stand beside the casket. Before she met the eyes of the people she stares down at the body that was inside. That's just what it was, a body. The person that she had known for so many years was gone and this was what was left in its place. A body. Cold and empty.

"My mother was a hard working woman and good at her job. She raised two children in a loving home and she did most of it by herself. Although, we didn't always see eye to eye I would like to think that she knew that she was loved by both of her daughters." A sob tore throught the silence and Buffy looked over at Dawn and gave her a small smile. "She was a good mother and person at heart and she will be missed greatly." The people in the crowd nodded in agreement and the preacher resumed his place but Buffy stayed by his side.

"The Lord has commanded her home and we stand witness for it today." He closed the coffin. "You may place your roses and give your last respects." He nodded to Buffy and she placed her rose on top of the coffin as it was slowly lowered into the ground. The rest slowly followed her lead. Buffy watched the others place their respected roses down and said a small prayer or some kind words. Dawn was so shaky coming up to place her rose Connor had to keep her steady so she wouldn't fall down. When it as over they slowly departed and everyone went back to their cars

"Where are all theses people going to go? Will there be a wake?" Dawn asked as she looked up at her sister with red rimmed eyes.

Buffy shook her head. "Mom didn't want a wake so we're not having one."

"Oh," Dawn said softly. It was strange to her that her mother actually planed out some of the things for her funeral, things she wanted and didn't want. It felt wrong to her that you had to think about theses things when you were still alive. Planning your life after your death before you even died just wasn't right. Even if it wasn't written anywhere Dawn was sure that her mother would have wanted her father to be here today. He couldn't ever return Buffy's calls, and she knew that her sister along with Anne called him a lot. When they called his job they said that he was out of town on business and wouldn't be back for two weeks or so. When they told them the reason they needed to get n touch with him they promised to get a message to him right away. Still, he had not come nor had he called.

Dawn felt Buffy's hand slip out of hers and looked over at her to see what was happening. "I'm going to the hospital to stay with Spike for a while." Dawn went to protest but Buffy gave her a stern look. "I really need this right now Dawn. Get in the car and go with Angel and Connor, they'll take care of you for right now." She placed her hand on her sister cheek and wiped away a tear. "I'm not going anywhere. I'm gonna come right back and get you, ok?" Dawn gave her sister a small nod and Buffy walked off with Faith, Abby, and Chris.

"You ready to go, B?" Faith asked. Abby's small hand clung to her mother's black dress. The silk material was bunched up in her hand wile she looked up at Buffy with sad eyes. Chris had taken her to LA with him to see her grandmother while Faith stayed behind with Buffy. Buffy had protested and told her friend that she should go home for a while; the brunet wasn't hearing any of it. She'd stayed with her to this very day and she didn't regret a thing. Abby's parents had broken the news that Buffy's mother was dead very genteelly. She didn't really understand that much but she did know that Buffy and everyone else was very sad. She didn't want her Aunt Buffy to be sad.

"I'm ready," Buffy said. They climbed into the car and Buffy sat in the back with Abby.

"Where we going?" Abby asked.

Buffy turned towards her and gave her a small smile. "Were going to see my friend Spike. You remember him right, the one who got hurt?" Buffy's voice cracked a little but Abby didn't seem to notice as she nodded that she remembered him. "I would like you to meet him, I'll have to ask your mommy but do you think that you want to?"

The younger girl nodded enthusiastically making Buffy smile. Abby was happy to meet anyone that Buffy said was her friend. She liked all of Aunt Buffy's friends, except that loud mean girl who called her a brat. She didn't like her at all. She hoped that Buffy's friend wouldn't be sad that her Aunt Buffy's mommy had gone away. Maybe she would come back before they got to the hospital, she thought hopefully.

When they arrived at the hospital Buffy asked Faith and Chris if it was ok if Abby came with her to meet Spike. They agreed but they thought it was best if they talked to her about Spike's condition. They quickly did that but Buffy didn't think that it cleared anything up for the four year old.

The two silently made their way down the hall in silence. Once they reached Spike's room Buffy's hold on Abby's hand tightened. They entered the room and the sight of Spike lying there, still not awake and hooked up to a machine, saddened her. She stared at him for a moment, unmoving, rooted to the spot just a little inside the thresh hold of the door. Abby was looking back and forth between her and Spike, but her eyes soon landed on Buffy again.

"Spike?" the little girl asked. Buffy broke out of her trance and looked down at the little girl beside her, she smiled softly, but it didn't reach her eyes, and nodded as they entered the room a little bit more. Buffy sat down in the chair beside Spike's bed and lifted Abby into her lap. Buffy stared at the boy in the bed beside her and her eyes stared to mist. Her mother was dead and they had buried her today. When they were putting her mother into the ground it had really hit Buffy that her mother wasn't coming back, she would never see her again and she and Dawn would really be alone. The fact that she had been holding on to her mother so much had surprised her. It hadn't really surprised her that she held onto her memory but the fact that she still clung to a little bit of hope that what she had gone through was all just some horribly bad dream had. It was nerve racking how much could go wrong when things in her life were already so messed up. Abby wriggled around in her lap and leaned up so she could get a good look at the sleeping boy.

"Spike's like Sleeping Beauty?" Abby asked. Buffy smiled and nodded.

"A little," she said looking down at the small girl in her arms. "Except, I don't think a kiss is gonna be able to wake him up." Abby looked a little put off by her words but that didn't stop the little girl from leaning over and pushing her small lips against Spike's cheek. Abby looked even move put out when Spike didn't open his eyes like the princess in her movie move had.

"You have to do it," the girl cried. "It didn't work!"

"Abby," Buffy started, "this isn't a book or a movie so I don't think this is going to work." Abby pouted but didn't press it further. Buffy proceeded to tell Spike about her day and Abby interjected with things that she had done as well. Soon Faith came to retriever her daughter; she gave Buffy a soft smile and led her little one out of the room.

Buffy just sat there thinking about Abby and the kiss she had given Spike. She had seen him move the last time she'd come to visit and there was always a chance that he would wake up if she kissed him. She quickly banished the though from her mind as what she was thinking caught up to her. Thinking that she was in a fairy tale and that everything was going to turn out ok was one of the reasons that had gotten her into this mess. She still regretted that she'd called Chris to come and get her instead of pushing past her mother's words like she had always done. She should have known that it would take her more that two days to get back into her life, and for that she'd lost her mother and Spike was in a coma.

"This is all my fault," she spoke softly. She knew that she had promised Dawn that she would stop blaming herself but who else could she blame? How Anne could even stand to see her in her house was a mystery to her. She had landed her son in this position and she was being so nice to her. She tried to pull herself together once she felt the tears start to come; they fell and landed on her folded hands that were resting in her lap. Something inside her broke and she stated to cry, cry for her dead mother, cry for her depressed sister, Spike and his distraught mother, and lastly for herself. She knew that she wasn't worth anyone's tears so she cried for herself most of all.

She composed herself and got ready to leave. She gave Spike a quick kiss before she exited the small hospital room.

The next day was nothing short of a miracle in Buffy's mind. She had been sitting out in the back yard under what she had deemed her and Spike's tree, when Anne rushed out searching for her. As the older woman got closer Buffy could see the tears that were running down her flushed cheeks. She thought the worse and scramble up from her position in the grass and got to her feet.

"He's awake," Anne said. The words hit Buffy and she nearly fell to the ground. They had been waiting so long for this day to come and now it was here. Was he ok? Had he asked for them? Even more questions flooded her mind but the main thing she wanted was to see him.

"Let's go," Buffy spoke shakily.

Dawn was upstairs napping when Buffy came and roused her. When she had given her the news the young teen had become ecstatic. She offered to call everyone up and let them in one the good news, Anne and Buffy were too occupied in there own thoughts to do anything other than get to the hospital.

When they arrived Dr. Rogerson greeted them and got them up to date with what was going on. Spike was awake but they still needed to run test to make sure that he would be ok and nothing major had been damaged during the accident. After the test had been preformed two of them could enter the room at a time, no more.

When the rest of their friends arrived Dawn filled them in on what was going on while Anne and Buffy huddled close together in a connate, they were drawing comfort from each other. Spike was awake but there was still a possibility that he could come out of this with long term damage. The thing that put him in the coma was a head injury so the thought that he could sustain some brain damage was a very freighting possibility. That thought had never occurred to any of them, they had all been so concerned with their friend waking up they hadn't really thought about the lasting effects that he might sustain form the crash. When they first brought him in the doctors told them that he had some internal bleeding and very bad head energy. He was very bruised but the only thing that he had broken was his ribs. Dawn had broken her arm and received some nasty cuts and bruises, but Ms. Summers had taken most of the damage.

When the car impacted with the guardrail, it crashed throught it, because Joyce had been driving she absorbed most of the force fro the crash. From there the car rolled down into the wooded area and continued to flip until it collided with a tree. By then all there occupants had been rendered unconscious. On lookers who had seen the crash called the police and they were on the seen in no time. By the time they reached the car Joyce had already been impaled with a rather large piece of metal. She'd already lost a lot of blood when they'd gotten to her so they had to act fast in order to try and save her. In the end they were too late. The doctors had patched her up as much as they could but she was week and defeated. They thought it was remarkable that she had held on for as long she had. They said that it was very possible that she could have been killed on impact.

They doctors had told the story to Anne but not to the blond girl at her side. Buffy had so much on her mind already, the blue eyed woman couldn't bear to bring her down even more with the horrible tale of the way her mother had sustained her injuries. Anne loved Buffy like a daughter but there were times were she was overtly confused on how she should feel. She knew that Buffy had been in L.A when all this had happened but she couldn't help but think that if the girl had been here things could have been avoided. She wasn't saying that the girl had driven her mother to get drunk and chase after her daughter; she knew that Joyce had a mind of her own and was responsible for her own actions. The truth was that when she had gotten that call from Angel she broke down. She'd let the phone fall from he hands and she'd fallen to the floor in grief, this was even before she'd known that he had fallen into a coma. She'd been returning from the cafeteria when she spotted Buffy standing outside her son's room. She couldn't move at that moment. She hadn't thought of what to say to the girl when she saw her, as she knew she would sometime, but at that moment she knew that she could not blame her. Buffy looked awful, stricken, and broken. Her heart went out to the younger girl. Her heart went out to her even more when she learned of her mother's death.

She had known for so long that her son was in love with the eldest Summers girl. They had been friends for so long, very close. They shared something that the others did not and that is what made it beautiful. When Buffy had been sent to live with her father, Spike had been heart broken. He moped around the house for weeks at a time, refused to talk with her or any of his friends, until he realized that Dawn was hurting as well. The younger girl had broken out of his funk, determine to try and fill the hole that Buffy had left both of them with. Though neither of them succeeded, they became even closer than they had been. This is why Anne could not bring herself to blame Buffy, for she knew that her son would do everything in his power to protect Dawn. He loved her like a sister and saw it as his responsibility to keep her and her older sister safe.

"I can't believe that I wasn't here when he woke up. I've been here everyday since this has happened, and where am I when he wakes up? I was sitting under a tree feeling sorry for myself. "

Anne stared at Buffy and put a comforting hand on the girls shoulder. "Buffy, please try not to think that way." She took a deep breath, thinking very carefully about how to phrase what she was about to say. "William will be fine." Buffy stared at her. Anne cloud read her questioning expression. She was wondering how she could possibly be so sure that William would be ok. It wasn't something that she could explain, she just knew, and she knew that Buffy needed to know it as well. "I'm his mother; I know these kinds of things."

"Ok," Buffy said softly. Her face relaxed and her breathing evened out. She turned away from Anne but did not break the hold the older woman's had on her hand. She stared at her sister sitting with Willow and Oz, who was drawing on her cast. Angel, Xander, and Anya were chatting to themselves across the way about something or another; it was strange how they knew that she and Anne needed to be together. She'd seen Cordy and Connor when they arrived but she didn't know where they had gone off to. She sighed. They were all worried and egger as well. She felt selfish for thinking that she was the only one going throught something. Hell, Anne was sitting right next to her and she wasn't providing her with anything but extra weight. She was comforting her while her son was in a hospital room with a doctor deciding his fate. What could be worse? Him not waking up at all, she told herself. She hadn't even had to wait with the rest of them when Spike, Dawn and her mother had been emitted. Sitting in here wondering if the person you loved would be walking out of the doors with you was a scary feeling.

She felt Anne shift next to her and returned her attention back to her. "Tell me something I don't know about him," she found herself saying. Anne looked at her with confusion then realization sparkled in her eyes.

"When we lived in England I would always tell him stories about America. I'd traveled to England to do research and met Daniel, William's father, and we fell in love and I didn't leave. William loved it there but he always loved hearing stories about my home town, he talked about visiting and I always promised him that when he got older we would. When William was about six his father died, at the time I thought we both needed a fresh start, what better place to come that somewhere he'd love right?" A small smile graced her lips and Buffy could tell that she was seeing the story play before her. "I thought it best we moved somewhere small so we moved here. As much as William loved the thought of coming to America for the first time he was still very distressed over the loss of his father. Like any six year old he clung to me, because I was still hurting I let him. William wouldn't go outside or try to make new friends; all he wanted to do was stay inside and sit with me. After the first couple of weeks I realized that wasn't healthy for him and took him out to the park."

"The park where we met," Buffy mused.

"Yes, that was the day that he met you. He hadn't made friends with anyone so you were his first friend here." She smiled fondly and Buffy found herself smiling back. "You made quite the impression on him; he talked about you all the time."

"He did?"

"Yes, and he still does." Buffy blushed and looked away. Spike talked about her often! To his mother no less. She tried to calm her rapidly beating heart. She couldn't let herself get too excited; after all, they were five then. But that still didn't explain why he talked about her so much now…

"When you left he was so upset."

Buffy frowned. "I didn't want to leave," she said softly. "My mother was so angry with me, she wanted to send me away as soon a possible. I didn't have time to say goodbye, to anyone. I didn't have time to tell him…" She coked back a sob. What was she thinking leaving with Chris like that? Spike had pleaded with her to stay and she still walked d out on him, again. This time it had been of her own free will, which and hurt the most. How did he feel as he watched her walk away? That was the last time she had seen or spoken to him before the accident. She fully intended on returning but that was a choice that she had made when she arrived in LA, not before.

"Tell me something about him that I don't know." Buffy stared at the woman next to her in shock. Anne smiled. "As a sixteen year old, do you tell your parents everything?" Buffy shook her head. "See; just tell me something, anything."

"I love him." Anne continued to smile. "I know that it's not really about him but in a way it is. I love him for all the sweet things he does, not just for me, for all of us, all of our friends, and you as well. When we're together he's so open with me, it's very easy for me to forget about everything and everyone when he's around me, that's just how good he is at making me feel like I have all of his attention." She couldn't contain her tears but she didn't wipe at them, she let them fall down her flushed cheeks freely. "He has your eyes, not that you didn't already know, but when we first met I couldn't look away." She let out a soft laugh. "I was five and he was already something special to me. When I was in LA I would think about him all the time. About what he was doing, or what he was thinking about, I just wanted to be with him."

Anne gave her a little pat on her shoulder and Buffy turned to look at her with broken green eyes.

"Did he hate me? When I left I mean."

"No," Anne said simply. "He missed you but he could never hate you. Your sister explained what happened the day after you left, he was heart broken. He was angry for a long time, at your mother for the most part, but mainly at himself for not being able to keep you here. It got so bad that he didn't want to be around anyone. Dawn had to remind him that he wasn't the only one going through something, that she and everyone else missed you too. She said it was like you died because she couldn't see you even though you were so close. Joyce completely refused to talk about you, and for a while William wasn't allowed to se her either."

Buffy sobbed. He never told her. He said that he missed her but never that it had been that much. Dawn never told her that their mother stopped her from seeing Spike, she wasn't allowed to see any of them but she never knew that her mother had cut Dawn of from them as well. She needed to calm down or she was going to have a panic attack. She brushed off the hand that Anne placed on her shoulder in favor of burying her head in her knees. She rocked back and forth lightly in her seat and tried to concentrate on getting air into her lungs.

"Buffy!" Anne yelled. That was the last thing that she heard before she blanked out.

Buffy knew she had to be dreaming, if she wasn't then she had simply gone back in time. She was sticking to her dream theory until someone proved otherwise. She watched her younger self and young Spike sitting beneath their tree in deep conversation.

"Do you think they hate me?" younger Buffy asked. "They did forget my birthday after all." She looked up at Spike with big green eyes and a small pout on her lips. He couldn't help but smile.

"How could anyone hate you?"

"What do you mean?" She was confused.

"Well, you're you" Spike said trying to find the right words. "I don't hate you and I don't think that parents are allowed to hater their kids."

Buffy snorted at younger Spike's logic. She broke out of her own thoughts as she turned her attention back to her and Spike's younger selves.

"How could they forget?" She asked in distress. "It's my birthday and I never forget theirs. Am I being punished?"

"No, you didn't do anything wrong." He pulled her into his arms and she didn't resist. She nuzzled her head into his chest and inhaled the smell that was her best friend.

"We'll, at least you didn't forget," she whispered.

"I'll never forget." They pulled apart and stared at each other for a while. Suddenly, Spike had his lips pressed onto hers. It was short but sweet. She opened her eyes, which she'd just realized that she had closed, and blinked up at her curly haired friend. "Happy birth day, Buffy."

The scène in front of her faded but the warm and fuzzy feeling it left her with inside did not. She was soon looking at another younger version of herself, this time she was older than ten. She looked about fourteen- oh she remembered this memory very clearly now.

"Why did you bring me here, Spike? I'm still very mad at you and you still have not apologized."A very angry Buffy glared up at the seemly calm looking Spike. He took her hand, and even thought she was made at him she allowed him lead her to the edge of the lake. He sat down and she followed his lead.

She sat glaring at the glistening water for a while as he stared at her. He could feel his intense gaze boring into her but she made no move to look at him.

"I'm sorry, ok?" He sighed and Buffy timidly turned to look at him. He really did look sorry.

"Why did you say that to Parker?"

He wouldn't look at her but she kept on looking at him. They were both so stubborn, it would be their downfall.

"I didn't like how close he was to you," he said softly still not looking up at her.

"We're just friends, Spike. As a matter of fact, we're not even friends yet, I was just talking to him. Besides, why does it even matter?" She awaited his answer readily thinking that he would tell her that he liked her and that he was the only one she was supposed to be that close to. The only reason that she was even talking to Parker while sitting that close to him was to make Spike jealous. He and Parker had words and Parker accused him of having a crush on Buffy. This was shot down by Spike, very quickly, as he defended himself by saying that they were just really good friends, best friends. He promptly insulted Parker by calling him a slezz ball and grabbed Buff and led her off.

"I don't like it when you get too close to other people, Buffy. Especially boys."

"Why not? What about Angel and Xander, we're pretty close."

"Not that close, never that close. Besides, Angel and Xander aren't pansy's," the boy mumbled.

Buffy couldn't help it, she laughed. Parker was kind of mean. It felt nice to know that Spike was looking out for her best interest. When she turned back to look at him she found he was staring at her. She smiled.

"You can look at me again I see."

He chuckled. "I needed to see if anything had changed." He leaned a bit closer and Buffy held her breath.

She closed her eyes and whispered, "And has it?"She could feel his breath on her cheek now and she told herself that if he kissed her they were more than friends. She felt his lips brush against her cheek, she nearly died of disappointment.

"Yes," he finally said. He pulled back and she opened her eyes and saw he was getting up. He extended his hand and she accepted readily. "So do you forgive me?" he asked sweetly.

Buffy pretended to think about it as she cocked her head to the side and gave him a thoughtful look. "I guess-aahh" She let out a yelp then a laugh as he hugged her to his chest and twirled them around.

"Now that that's all taken care of, let's get you back home. Don't want your mom to find that you're out of bed."She rolled her eyes and they headed off.

Buffy smiled fondly at that memory. It was that year that she found out that what she felt for Spike was more than just friendly love, thought at that time she didn't love him, she did have a rather big crush on him. He never acted on her advances and she stared to give up hope the next year that he liked her that way. Willow and Cordy assured her that Spike would return her affections; all she had to do was make the first move. She was going to confess to him the night that her mother had her sent off to LA. She'd told him to wait up for her by his window because she was coming over and she had something important to tell him.

She was on her way when she heard Dawn down stairs yelling. She ran down to check on her and found her happily embracing their father in the living room. She had been very surprised to see him and she soon became even more surprised to find out why he was there. To take her with him. To take her away from her life, her sister, away from Spike. Her mother came downstairs and told her that it was for her own good and that she would thank her later in life when she was a stable and dependable young woman after her sentence in LA. Before she knew it she was yelling and screaming at her mother, telling her that this wasn't what she wanted or what she needed.

"But it's what's best," her mother spoke icily.

She would never forget those words her mother said to her that night. All she remembered was numbly saying goodbye to Dawn and sitting in the car crying her eyes out, her father sitting in the driver's seat trying to awkwardly comfort her with unsure words. That night was just one of many nights that she cried herself to sleep. She pushed the memories away and stared to come out of her dream like state. She could hear muddled voices around her but she didn't want to open her eyes yet. She wanted to go back to the dream world where she and Spike were happy! She didn't want to return to the real world that was full of pain and regret. So she just laid there with her eyes screwed shut, hot tears falling down her cheeks as she mumbled something that her ears couldn't quite understand.

"Hush, it's ok. I got you. I got you, Buffy."

"Spike?" Her eyes shot open and she found herself looking into two beautiful crystal blue eyes. It was the first time she had seen them in weeks. Then it hit her, she was lying in Spike's hospital bed, with him. He was comforting her. He was trying to make her feel better and he was the one who'd woken from a several week long coma. She cried.

"Why are you crying?" He looked at the doctor and glared. "You said she was fine. Why is she crying?" he asked demandingly. He looked Buffy over quickly for injury. "Buffy, are you hurt, luv? What's wrong?"

"She's fine," Dr. Rogerson said. "She may still be upset over whatever made her pass out in the first place but there is nothing physically wrong with her." He looked at the crying girl and the very worried boy and smiled sadly. "I'm going to have to ask her to leave if she doesn't stop. She's upsetting you and we don't need to get you over excited."

"No," Spike spoke quickly. "Buffy, you have to calm down or they're gonna make you leave." Buffy's cries did not stop, if anything they got louder and she started to thrash. He saw his mother talking to the doctor and they called a nurse in. She walked over to them and he eyed her warily. "What are you…?" She stuck Buffy with a needle and she soon went limp in his arms.

"Sedative," she explained simply. She turned back to Dr. Rogerson and asked, "Will that be all, doctor?"

"Yes, Nurse Davis that will be all." She smiled at his mother and walked out of the room.

"I think I'll leave you alone," Dr. Rogerson said.

When he was gone his mother turned to him and smiled sadly. "I've been so worried about you."

"As you've said a thousand times already, mother."

They had already had some time to talk to themselves before the doctor came in when Buffy started to wake up. Shortly after Buffy passed out, the doctor told them that they could go in to see Spike. They all decided that Anne should go in first to have a little privet time with her son. They talked, and like she expected he would, he asked about Buffy and Dawn. She'd told him that Dawn was fine, she was sporting some bruises and a broken arm, but she was fine. He then pressed the issue of Buffy and Anne had no choice but to tell him what happened. He quickly insisted that she be brought to his room until she woke up. How much he cared for the girl failed to surprise her.

"I didn't mean to worry you," he said softly. He looked down at Buffy and brushed some hair out of her eyes. "Any of you."

"We know you didn't and you shouldn't concern yourself with such things." She stepped closer and placed a hand on his cheek. "I'm glad to have you back. Buffy's been here everyday since the accident, she and Dawn are staying with us. They don't really want to go back home until they're doing a little better."

"How have they been doing?"

"They're holding up but they've been pretty shaky, Dawn more over her mother and Buffy more over her guilt about you."

"About me?" His mother nodded. "She feels guilty about the accident? How could she? It wasn't her fault, she wasn't even here!"

"I know that but I can see how certain factors may make her believe that it was her fault," Anne said evenly.

Spike narrowed his eyes. "You haven't blamed her have you? This is not her fault."

"William, I have in no way indicated to Buffy that any of this is her fault. Do you think I would have her and her sister in our home if I blamed her? I know you lover her but-"

"Who said that I loved her?" He looked taken aback by his mother's words. "I mean, I love her but only as a friend."

"What is it with teenagers and trying to kid their elders?" She sighed but the smile she wore did not leave her face. "You're not fooling any one, William. Well, except Buffy. She's still under the impression that you see her only as a friend. I don't know why with the way you pine after her."

"I do not pine!" he shouted.

"What ever you say." She leaned down and kissed the top of his head. "I'll go so your friends can have a turn with you. I'll be back soon, darling." She was half way out of the door when Spike stopped her.

"Mum?" he asked. "You didn't tell her did you?"

"No, I'll leave that up to you." And she was gone.

Over the next couple of hours Spike caught up with his friends as they told him stories of life on the outside. They all stayed until visiting hours were over and Anne soon returned, Dawn was in toe.

"Buffy still sleeping?" Dawn asked.

"Yep, but the doctors say that the sedative's worn off, she's just sleeping because she's a little exhausted." He eyed Dawn and gave her a sweet smile. "Have you been taking care of her?"

"Yes." She glanced at him with her light sugar brown eyes. She was so happy when she walked into the hospital room to find him sitting up in the bed looking at her sister. Some things never changed, no matter how much the world around them had. "She's missed you, ya know? She's been spending a lot of her time here with you." She sat down in the chair beside the bed and tucked her legs underneath herself. Anne continued to stand silently by the door just watching the pair interact. Dawn idly let her left hand wander towards Spike's before it made contact and she grasped it. "She dragged me right along with her so we're both a little tired most days."

To prove her point a small yawn escaped her mouth and she blushed in embarrassment. Anne walked farther into the room and interrupted the two. "It seems that I don't need to prove my point on why it's time to head out." Her lips graced across her son's head and she pulled back to look at him. Since he awoke from his coma he'd noticed that she looked at him differently. It wasn't so bad; he just wasn't very used to her intense gaze. "I'll be back bright and early."

"And I'll be back right after school," Dawn piped in. She looked a little put out that she couldn't come back with Anne but she made no protests. "I'll probably have the whole gang with me when I return, just a heads up." She smiled wickedly and bolted up from her chair and made her way over to her sister. "Night, Buffy." She kissed her head softly and gazed down at her older sibs sleeping form. Buffy stirred lightly under her touch but she did not wake. She had rolled over so now instead of facing Dawn she was facing Spike's hip.

"I'm heading out now," she said to Anne. The older woman gave her a nod. Dawn smiled once more at Spike before she exited the hospital room.

"Where's she off to?" Spike asked.

"I'm letting her spend the night with Connor and Angel." Spike raised an eye brow at his mother. He never though his mother was one to condone such things. Seeing her son's quizzical gaze she explained. "Tonight would be the first night that she would be without Buffy. I thought it better to leave her in the care of someone she would be responsive to if need be." Spike understood.

"I don't think you'll want anymore kisses from me tonight so I'll take my leave." She resisted the urge to rush back to his side and walked closer towards the door. After what she'd been through it was so hard to willingly walk away from him without wondering if she'd ever see him again. It was only for the night. The hospital said they need to keep him for an overnight observation and that if all was fine he would be released latter on tomorrow evening. That seemed like such a long time to her but she supposed that it was for the best, she wanted him nice and healthy when he returned home. She gave him one more thoughtful glance before she walked out of the room once more.

When Buffy woke she realized that she was cuddled into something warm and quite soft. She slowly opened her eyes and was welcomed with a calming darkness. She rolled away from the warmth in order to look at her surrounds. From the faint beeping sounds filling the room she quickly realized that she was still in the hospital. Very soon the events that led her to where she was now caught up with her and she gasped. Buffy looked up and she was soon met with the soft sleeping gaze of Spike. He was no longer eternally sleeping, that much she could tell. Even in the dark room she could see the glow his skin had taken on. He reached out timidly to touch and let her fingers trail a pattern across his skin.

She drew in a sharp breath as her hand started to tremble. He felt so warm. She pulled back and fixed her gaze on his peaceful face, his chest rising and falling ever so often. The best part was that he was breathing on his on without the help of a machine, he was awake and she was lying in the bed with him.

What happened to her was still a bit foggy; she remembered talking to Anne then struggling to breathe, then darkness. She closed her eyes, trying to find the missing pieces in the back of her mind somewhere, but she came up with nothing. She slumped back on the bed in hopelessness.

"Buffy?" Her breath hitched in the throat and she closed her eyes. She heard Spike shift over and soon she could feel his breath on her cheek. Her body became even stiffer as she tried desperately to fake sleep. "I know you're awake." His voice was full of amusement and she was dying to see his facial expression.

She opened her eyes and stared. "How did you know?"

Spike chuckled. "We've been friends for a long time, I think I can tell the difference between your sleeping face and your pretend one."

She continued to stare up at him then suddenly Spike had an arm full of Buffy. He eagerly returned her embrace as she buried her head in the crook of his neck.

"I was so scared for you," she said softly. Spike felt her tears roll down his neck and briefly wondered how she had any more left to cry. "Staying strong has been so hard. Don't ever leave me again." She pulled back and stared into his sparkling blue orbs. "Promise me, promise you won't leave me again."

"I promise," he said breathlessly. "You have to promise not to leave as well, luv."

His words hurt; she pushed through it thinking it was only fair that he ask that of her, she'd left him twice already. After a while she nodded in agreement and pulled him into another hug. "I Promise."

They sat there like that for a while, the both of them just holding each other, taking comfort in the others presence. Every now and then Spike would brush a lock of her hair or brush against the bare skink of Buffy's neck, the sensation it brought to her drove her crazy but she held herself together and clung to her best friend.

She'd missed this, the closeness that they always shared. He had always been there for her and even when they had been apart, thoughts of him kept her sane during the times when she would just break down and cry. The time she spent in LA taught her a lot about herself and she learned to be on her own. Granted, she'd been on her own for a while now, but taking care of herself without having to watch out for her little sister was exceptionally different. The choices that she made only affected her and that was something that she had gotten used to.

Coming back had been wonderful, but she'd never really given much thought to how much things would have changed in her absence. Seeing Spike, having him look at her with those eyes that touched the very center of her soul with a passion that was forever burning in the icy blue depts of his eyes, eyes that she wanted to shine with the same love that burned in her bleeding heart. Coming home and seeing him had never felt as good as she'd remembered. It was better, intensified from their long time apart. She'd been so determined to have things be right as she left them upon her departure, that she hadn't given any thought to who she had become during her time away from home. She'd wanted her friends to welcome her back home with open arms, which they had, but also wanted those arms to resemble the ones that she'd been in two years ago. She'd wanted too much. Change as well as the recognizable love that they had all held for each other. Their silly carefree childhood ways that that consumed so much of their time within their lives.

Things had changed and she had only realized it when her mother brought it to her attention and busted the bubble of denial that had been so evidently drifting farther and farther within her eyesight. Having her choices affect the people around her, things had been too much. No wonder she'd left. Spike's hand grazed her face and she realized that she was crying again. Having him touch her like this still shook her to the core.

Knowing that she'd almost lost this, his touch, his gaze beaming down on her. She'd almost lost Spike, forever. The boy that was holding her in his arms at this very moment was in a coma a couple of hours ago and she'd almost lost him without him knowing how she felt. The dream played in a loop in her head as she debated with herself if she should keep her secret. She gazed up into dazzling blue eyes and her heart ached.

"Buffy, what's wrong?" His concern was genuine. He hated when she got the heartbreaking look in her beautiful forest green eyes.

"Spike?" Her voice was quite, barely above a whisper. She was surprised that she'd even heard herself.

"Yeah?" His voice was raspy, probably from not using it fro so long.

"Do you love me?" Somehow she asked those words in an even softer tone than before.

Buffy felt Spike stiffen and her heart speed up. She had prepared herself for rejection but she could still fill the ach in her heart that would be left after Spike tried to smooth things over. He'd tell her that he loved her, just not in the way that she did.

"You know I do. We've been friends for such a long time and we're so close. A lot closer than the others." He smiled down at her and cupped her face. His smile faltered as she shook her head violently and bit back a sob. He'd never seen her like this before.

"I don't mean as a friend, Spike." Her gaze had turned serious but he could sill see the vulnerable look that lingered there. Her hand found his and there fingers entwined, they fit like pieces of a puzzle.

She couldn't possibly mean that the way it sounded. He shut his eyes tightly as he prepared himself to take a chance that his brain told him was a mistake. He opened his eyes and stared at Buffy who was looking up at him with the most hopeful look he'd ever seen on her face. Her spoke. "I love you, Buffy, and not just s a friend."

"It's ok if you don't feel-... What did you say?" She couldn't have heard what she'd thought she heard.

"I said," Spike replied as he gripped his finger under Buffy's chin and forced her to meet his gaze, "that I love you. I'm in love with you, Buffy Summers, and I have been for a long time" Then their lips meet and Buffy melted. It was soft and sweet and filled with the tended love that he'd spoke of the moment before. It was everything a first kiss should taste like, feel like. She wound her arms around Spike's neck and pulled him closer; he responded by nibbling on her lip and deepening the kiss as she parted her lips to let his tongue slip in. They soon pulled back when they ran out of air.

"Oh my god, you have no idea how long I've wanted to do that."

"What was stopping you?" she asked.

"I- I just thought that- I don't know!" He slumped down next to her and she brought her hand up the brace up against him.

"Calm down," she said softly. "You still might be a bit tired and getting upset will only wear you out faster."

"I think it was you that wore me out." Buffy blushed and smacked Spike lightly on his shoulder. He grinned down at her and she smiled back. She'd almost forgotten how easy it was to be around Spike. She'd always liked that about their relationship. He leaned down and brushed his lips against hers briefly.

"We should both get some sleep. Its been a very long day."

Buffy nodded and both of them got into a comfortable position on the small bed. As they both slipped into a quite slumber, Buffy thought about all the things that would be coming their way after they left the hospital. They had a long journey ahead of them but she couldn't think of anyone else she'd rather be taking it with.


"Spike!" Buffy's high pitched squeal ran out as she wrapped her arms around her boyfriend's neck to steady herself. She gripped him tightly as she glanced over his shoulder to see their friends splashing in the water not too far away from them. She smiled sweetly as she watched Dawn running around with Abby and Chris safely away from the water as Faith worked on her tan.

They had all gone out and taken a trip to the beach for a little bit of fun in the sun while Faith, Abby, and Chris were in town. The small, but happy little family had made it their mission to come down to Sunnydale as much as they could to check on Buffy and make sure all was well. Thought the two adults were older than all of them everyone seemed to get along well once they got to know each other. It helped matters a lot that little Abby was there to warm and charm everyone's hearts with her sweet smile.

Life was hectic, but things were starting to slow down now that mid terms were over. Everyone had been crazy that last week. During the time that her mother had passed and Spike had been in the hospital Buffy's grades had declined quiet a bit; both she and Spike had a lot of work ahead of them those following weeks. It didn't help matters that they were living under the same roof and had just started a new relationship that both of them had wanted for years. They both found themselves exploring each other in ways that they had only dreamed of; lucky they had Anne to keep them on top of their school work, other wise they would have fallen even more behind.

It had been while since Spike was released from the hospital and started to recover, three months to be exact. He was doing much better and their relationship had blossomed just as everyone around them knew it would. The first thing that they'd worked on was trying to get Spike back on his feet. He'd known that things would be different when he woke up and left the hospital but he never dreamed that he would feel as different as he had. It felt like he was the same person, yet he wasn't. Spike felt like something had shifted and changed inside of him, he couldn't put his finger on it but he knew that he had changed.

He stared down at the girl in his arms and knew that this was one of the things that the accident could never take away from him.

He sat her down and she giggled softly as he stole a quick kiss.

"You ready to go back in the water?" he asked resting his hands on her slim waist.

Buffy sent him a mock glare and shook her head. "My hair can't take any more ocean water. I hate to see what it'll look like tomorrow." Spike touched her damp hair and moved it out of her eyes. They were shining with a brightness that rivaled that of the sun, they did that a lot when he was around now.

"Will you two get a room already!"

They turned around to face their two friends who and joined them in the water making their way over to where they now stood. Cordy and Angel were just one of their many coupled up friends. Willow and Oz were the only ones that they trusted to work the grill without getting themselves blown up, it was sad but true. Oz and Willow had grown even closer in what seemed like relatively short time and were often seen openly snuggling on campus.

It seemed like everyone was in a happy blossoming relationship, and for once Buffy didn't feel left out. Xander and Anya were as strong and open about their relationship as ever, Anya often caught Spike alone to talk about fun things that she and Xander had tried together, much to Spikes embarrassment. She thought that now that he and Buffy were a couple he could uses her advice since she knew Xander was much to moist to talk about any of the things that they had done together with their friends. Xander quickly put a stop to it once he over heard one of their conversations. Anya complied and soon found other interesting things to talk about with the bleached blond.

Dawn and Connor were pretty much at the same place in their relationship, much to Buffy's relief. They were taking things slow but had learned so much about each other after experiencing so much over the last couple of months. Buffy and Spike were both happy for them and found it funny that the younger teens had come to terms with their feelings for each other before they did.

Buffy smiled at Cordy and Angel came to a halt in front of them. Angel had his arms firmly locked around Cordy's waist while she leaned back into his embrace lovingly.

"It looks like the foods ready. How about we head over and help them set up?" Angel asked.

Spike and Buffy gazed over at where everyone had stopped what they were doing and had started to gather around to eat. Spike turned back to the couple and nodded. "We'll be along in a minute." Buffy gazed at her boyfriend questionly as Angle and Cordy made their way over to the large group.

After the two were out of their eyesight, Spike leaned down and brushed his lips softly against Buffy's in a loving kiss. She opened her eyes and stared up at Spike in a bit of a daze. She brought her fingers to her lips as they buzzed from the kiss that they had just shared.

"Wow," she said. "Just wow."

"I'm glad you think so." His face soon grew serious and Buffy noticed that he looked a little nervous.

"What is it?" she asked worriedly.

"It's nothing bad; I just have something that I want to ask you." He watched as the worry quickly left her face and was replaced with a curious look instead. Spike reached into his pocket and Buffy gasped when she saw what he had pulled out. "I know what you must be thinking but I just want you to hear me out. We've only been going out for a couple of months but those months have been the happiest that I've been in a long time. I wanted to give you this to let you know that I want this to work, I want us to work. No matter what happens around us I want you to know that you'll always have me there for you, no matter what. This ring will remind you of that."

He slipped the silver ring onto her finger then let go of her trembling hand. Buffy brought her hand closer to her face to look at the ring that had just been placed onto her finger. The small silver ring fit perfectly on her finer while the two intertwining hears rested in the center of the band. Her green eyes left the ring and fixed firmly on the boy standing in front of her. She refused to cry, there had been enough tears falling from her eyes lately and she desperately didn't want to ruin the moment.

She could find no words so she did the next best thing; she threw herself into Spike's arms and held on for dear life. They stood there embracing each other for a long moment, paying no attention to the world around them.

"I'll be with you for as long as you'll have me," Spike finally spoke. They were both oblivious to the person approaching them.

"Hey," Dawn said softly as she came up to the embracing couple. Spike turned around to look at her but Buffy buried her face into Spike's chest. Dawn gave them quizzical glance and raised her eye brow. "Everyone is eating and your food is getting cold." She smiled as Spike rested his hand atop her sister's head and pulled her closer to him. "How long are you two gonna stand here?"

"Forever," Buffy whispered. She removed her face from Spike's chest and looked up at him with flushed cheeks. Dawn gave them a bewildered look but Spike understood. He could live with that.




The End

This is the end and I hope you all liked it. I'm so happy that to see this story some to an end and I am sorry for the long wait. It would men so much to me if you would share your thoughts with me and drop me a review. I hope you all are happy with the ending! Hope to see all of you soon!